The Power Of Remembering

Dear Church,

This past Monday our nation remembered the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  Probably like many of you, I found myself glued to the TV watching 9/11 documentaries, interviews and stories surrounding that day and the many days that followed.  I even found myself on YouTube watching the news clips of the second plane crashing into the second tower.  The images are still gut-wrenching.  As we sat at the dinner table I leaned over to my now six year-old son, Willem, and said that I needed to tell him about something very sad, but very important.  I asked him if he knew anything about September 11, 2001.  He said he didn’t.  So, I did my best to tell him about what happened.  Where I was.  Where Mom was.  What happened to those innocent people on the planes and in the buildings.  How police officers and firefighters ran into buildings when everyone else was running out to try and rescue people.  I tried my best to tell Will about sin and terrorism and bad guys doing bad things.  All in all, I think the conversation went pretty well.  He was very attentive and full of questions.  After talking about it that afternoon and then again in the car a few days later, Will said to me, “Dad, I just want to forget about all that bad stuff.  I don’t want to get nightmares.” 

In a lot of ways, I understood Will’s point.  Looking back on those events now 16 years later, it is does feel so horrific that I almost need to remind myself that, “Yes, those things actually did  happen.”  I told Will that we do need to remember what happened.  Not so we have nightmares, but to remember the people who died, the people who served and the people who now have grown old and older without loved ones and friends. 

Remembering things is a blessing and a curse, don’t you think?  It’s painful to remember hurtful times in our lives.  All those feelings of loss, pain, grief, hurt, abandonment, and anger are stirred up all over again.  It’s like picking at a scab.  Still, remembering is also a blessing.  Throughout the Bible, God is constantly telling God’s people to remember things.  Remember who He is.  Remember the covenant He made with them.  Remember the promises they made to God.  Remember their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.  When the people of God looked back, they were reminded of just how loving and how faithful God is and was in spite of their lack of faithfulness.  When they looked back, they were reminded that they came from a long line of fickle people who had memory issues when it came to their obedience to the Lord.

I can’t help but think we come from that same long line of fickle people with memory issues.  My friends, we need to remember.  Remember who we are.  Remember who we came from.  Remember promises we made in Baptism.  Remember when we made Profession of Faith.  Remember a time when the Lord seemed so palpably close.  Remember a time when God provided in an amazing way.  And it’s not just in our relationship to God.  We need to remember the journey we have been on with God’s people.  Remember how we fell in love with our spouses.  Remember when our kids were born.  Remember the vacations taken.  Remember the joy of birthdays celebrated. 

When we remember, we are pushing off forgetting.  If we don’t remember and re-tell our stories and journeys, we’ll most likely forget them.  The times of God’s grace and our love for each other can easily be forgotten in the midst of days that turn into months that turn into years.  But when we look back and remember God’s providence and faithfulness in our pasts, we’re more likely to trust that God will most definitely provide and be faithful in our present.  So spend a few moments remembering today.  And I have a hunch that when we remember, we’ll also realize that the God who provided in the past is the same God who will provide today.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Matt

Leave a Reply

Security code Refresh